Volunteering with nature center imparts important lessons

About a month ago the Vashon Nature Center put out a call for volunteers to quantify beach wrack at Lost Lake, where a bulkhead had been removed a year before. I figured I was the perfect person for the job since I had absolutely no idea what beach wrack was. But it was during a very low tide, and I love walking the beach. So I found myself among scientists, who actually understood what they were doing.

Beach wrack, I found out, is the organic material that washes up at the high tide line. We were to count the amount of seaweed and eel grass at specific predetermined points and the depth it had taken hold in the sand. We compared three areas: one where the bulkhead was removed, one that had never had a bulkhead and one where a bulkhead has been for years.

The place where the bulkhead was removed had seaweed and eel grass that had rooted in the sand. Grasses and reeds were present past the driftwood line. We then went to the area that never had a bulkhead. The seaweed and eel grass were more plentiful and were deeper into the sand. The area behind the driftwood was filled with grasses and reeds. Then we went to the bulkhead area. There was nothing. The ground was rocky with very little sand. No seaweed, no driftwood, no grasses. I was amazed. I believed that bulkheads were bad for the environment, but did not understand why. Wow! Seeing is believing.

This experience took me out of my usual doings, and I enjoyed working with new people. It was fun and opened my eyes in new ways. I am hooked and signed up for more volunteer work with the Vashon Nature Center. Next, I will be on bug survey duty at Beall Creek.

—Hilary Emmer




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

School Will Be Different in Fall, but Expect Nothing Less

I’m feeling certain of one thing — that the details, when ultimately presented, will be worth the wait.

Antonia: A Maury to be Proud Of

We want to suggest that Maury Island be named for early astronomer Antonia Caetana Maury.

Making Wise Choices, While We Still Can

King County County’s cases continue to surge to levels not seen since April.

Seeing the Sacred Worth of All Humankind

Jesus made it clear to those on society’s margins that they mattered to him and to God.

Four reasons Vashon needs a pedestrian main street

We need to change our town this year. Here’s why.

A parade on Vashon showed true patriotism

The island’s July 4 festivities made visible those working on behalf of our community.

Up to us all to dismantle white supremacy

We need everyone to take responsibility for dismantling the system of white supremacy in our country

Watching unity in action on island

Stories appearing in this issue of The Beachcomber seemed to be centered around the theme of unity.

Introducing the Whole Vashon Catalog

We hope this will launch a groundswell of strength, creativity and the will to save our Earth.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.